An introductory note:
I am very excited today. I am introducing guest writers! And my very first guest is Sona, who is a wonderful human and a brilliant writer. It is May - Mental Health Awareness Month, and she is going to talk about mental health in this blog. Coincidence?
The actual blog:
Did you know that 1 in 14 Indians from the age group between 15 to 24 report feeling depressed, in addition to battling anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis? Imagine 1 in 14 people are living their lives in a constant feeling of dread. That's like waiting for your results to come out - the cold and clammy fingers, butterflies in your stomach, tightness around your chest - Every. Single. Day.
There is a lot of stigma surrounding mental health, especially in Asian cultures, where we are taught from an early age to see failure as something embarrassing. Heck, even Abraham Lincoln knew what he was talking about with this famous but tiresome quote of his "Failure is the stepping stone to success". Growing up, you probably would have heard your teachers quoting this numerous times or seen it splashed across colourful posters, standing out like a bold reminder that it's okay to fail. But is it?
We've never really understood the true power failure holds in helping us lead a meaningful life. We've always been so busy trying to be the best and outperform others that we've willingly sacrificed a lot of things along the way, including mental health. Now, I've got nothing against competition. It's always good to have a healthy competition. It helps us to become better versions of ourselves. But when it starts becoming an obsession, that's when everything starts going downhill.
You are likely to be conditioned from a young age with the idea that being the best would get you far in life. Let me get one thing straight. At some point of time, there would always be someone better than you - whether it's in doing a job well or gaining the upper hand in maintaining better relationships. Accepting failure doesn't mean letting go of things. You shouldn't let failure weigh you down. Imagine your life to be like riding a car with each obstacle you face representing a failure. The way you control the wheel is your willpower and determination. When you meet an obstacle, instead of slackening your grip and crashing headlong into the obstacle, you should find a way to go around the obstacle, even if it means finding a different route.
The pressure of meeting various societal expectations is universal. Unfortunately, this pressure is so ingrained in the lives of so many Indians that they fall into a deep depression that could sometimes last for years or maybe even a lifetime. Recently, a boy from Pampady, Kottayam, committed suicide because he couldn't bear to see his parents fight every day. He set himself on fire. He was just 14 years old. Imagine all the pain he had to go through to make that decision of taking his own life. I just wish he had someone to talk to instead of ending his life at such a young age.
Although 41% of Indian youths are willing to seek help, we still have a long way to go to give mental health the attention it deserves. I don't believe anyone should sacrifice their lives to meet societal expectations. You should be empathetic but selfish too. You should fight for what you need and fight for the life you want to live.
So, what do you talk about when you talk about failure and mental health?
You talk about self-love.
You talk about pride.
You talk about being brave.
And most importantly, you talk about freeing your inner self - the person you've caged up inside with bars forged with low self-esteem and pity.
I am a close friend of Little Pixie. I love reading, travelling and making pathetic little attempts at being an artist. I share her love of books, music and movies. We spend most of our time annoying each other 😊.
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